How to identify your perfect virtual assistant

You’ve decided to hire a virtual assistant. This is a major step forward for your business, and it means you’ve done a lot of hard work to get to this point and, so far, it’s paying off. You might not immediately think that looking for someone to spend your money on is a reason to rejoice, but when it comes to the future of your business, I can assure you it is fully deserving of your celebration. 

When it comes to finding the right virtual assistant who can support your business goals and even act as your surrogate at times, there is no quick fix. However, if you are well prepared before your candidate search even begins, you’ll increase your odds of finding the right person and reduce the time you spend talking to the wrong people. You cannot begin looking for a virtual assistant until you have an idea what you are looking for.

Ask yourself these three questions to identify your perfect virtual assistant:  

  1. Which tasks do you want to outsource, at least to start with? If you’re not sure, these 10 virtual assistant tasks can get you started. It helps to list specific examples of tasks. Look at your own task list, and highlight tasks you’d like to offload. Rather than “research,” write “identifying potential clients.” 
  2. What are your other requirements specifically related to those tasks? Your answer may include industry expertise, location in certain time zones, or other parameters. You may not actually have anything to add for this step, if your needs are fairly straightforward. 
  3. Which personality characteristics do you mesh with best? If you’re best matched with people who are obsessed with accuracy, make that a priority. Do you need to connect through your sense of humor? These traits could be things you have in common, but they may also be ways your virtual assistant’s strengths can complement your weaknesses. 

Jot down the answers. At this point, you know who you want for the job. You can even use your answers to create a post that specifically outlines what you’re looking for. Here’s an example: 

“I’m looking for a virtual assistant to (1) manage my email inbox, calendar, and do light proofreading. Ideally, this person would be familiar with the (2) healthcare technology industry. I am hoping to find a virtual assistant who can (3) keep me on task and help make sure nothing falls through the cracks.” 

If the right person lays eyes on that description, they’ll know who you’re talking about. As with all messages, the trick is getting it in front of the right audience. This would be a great template to post in freelancer groups and sites where virtual assistants would look for potential clients. Industry groups, sites devoted to freelance and remote work, and social media are all good places to consider searching for candidates. Once you know what you want, you’ll recognize your perfect virtual assistant when you find them.